Namibia's re-elected president vows to fight corruption
President Hage Geingob's South West Africa People's Party (SWAPO) has been in power since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990 and is widely hailed for its role in the liberation struggle.
WINDHOEK, Namibia - Namibia's newly re-elected President Hage Geingob vowed Monday to step up the fight against graft as a corruption scandal coupled with a recession fuelled popular discontent against the ruling party.
"I will intensify the fight against corruption at all levels, so that we can arrest this evil," Geingob said in his first public address since his re-election was declared on Saturday.
Geingob's South West Africa People's Party (SWAPO) has been in power since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990 and is widely hailed for its role in the liberation struggle.
But Geingob's re-election in last week's vote was clouded by a three-year recession, high unemployment and drought, as well as a WikiLeaks report exposing alleged corruption in the fishing industry involving two ex-ministers.
Geingob, who will be serving his second and last term, said the SWAPO-led government understands Namibians' anger over the corruption allegations as graft "diverts public resources intended for development."
Fishing is one of Namibia's key economic sectors, second only to mining.
As a result of the allegations, the party's politburo withdrew Bernard Esau, the former fisheries minister, and former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala from the National Assembly.
Both were arrested in November on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, following media reports implicating them in a 150 million Namibian dollar (US$10 million) bribery scheme.
Their bail hearing is expected to take place on February 20, 2020.
In his televised address, Geingob thanked the voters for their support in what he called "one of the toughest" elections in Namibia's history.
Geingob on Saturday was declared the winner of the country's presidential elections with a diminished majority of 56.3%, the worst performance of any ruling party candidate for nearly 30 years.
Both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc and Commonwealth observers hailed last Wednesday's polling as generally peaceful.
But some opposition elements have alleged election fraud.